Understanding the eviction process in California

When a person makes the momentous decision to purchase rental property and officially become a landlord, they will understandably do everything in their power to protect their investment from making sure that all maintenance is performed regularly to carefully vetting prospective tenants.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that no matter how thorough a landlord is regarding their tenants, problems can still develop. In fact, these problems can sometimes become so acute that the landlord has no choice but to pursue an eviction.

While it's certainly understandable why a landlord would want to take this decisive course of action, they must understand that California has set forth a rather painstaking process that must be followed in order to legally evict problem tenants.

Indeed, landlords must understand that they are legally prohibited from taking any of the following actions against tenants -- regardless of how far behind they are on rent -- without a court order:

  • Removing the tenant's belongings
  • Changing the locks/Locking the tenant out
  • Having the tenant physically removed
  • Taking off windows or doors
  • Cutting off utilities (electricity, heat, water, etc.)

Instead, the first step toward the pursuit of an eviction is for the landlord to provide the tenant with written notice. Only when the notice period lapses and the tenant has failed to take any requested remedial action can the landlord proceed with filing an unlawful detainer case in court.

It's important to understand, however, that if the notice contains errors or an unlawful detainer is filed prior to the end of the notice period, the court will more than likely dismiss the case.

We'll continue discussing this complex topic in our next post.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about evicting a tenant from residential or commercial rental property here in California, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can guide you through the process.   

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